Recently I bought a tank top that promised I could roll out of bed in it, then wear to yoga, then on to brunch. Fascinated, I held it in my hand, imagining how whimsical and lighthearted my life would be once I slipped it over my head. That night, I wore my new tank top to bed, only to have my plan derailed the next morning when I overslept for my yoga class and no one invited me to brunch. In any case, all this is to explain why I am enamored of zucchini. The versatility! This summer, embrace your bumper crop of zucchini with these non-boring and tasty ways to chop, grate and bake that ubiquitous summer veggie. Zucchini, you’re everything I want you to be…and more.
1. Chocolate-Zucchini Cake: Cake mix, check. Chocolate pudding, check. Zucchini, che…wait, what? Yes, summer’s most plentiful vegetable meshes seamlessly with your chocolate cake plans. Zucchini comes through again with the same moistness it brings to quick bread.
2. Carrot and Zucchini Latkes: Substitute zucchini for potatoes to create these crispy, savory latkes. Leave enough prep time (you’ll need 50 minutes) for grating carrots, zucchini and onions and squeezing out their moisture.
3. Zucchini “Fries” with Lemon Aioli: Again, zucchini is the understudy for potatoes here…and STEALS THE SHOW! Shake matchstick slices of zucchini in a plastic bag with a mixture of Parm and a bread crumb-like coating mix to create faux fries that bake up golden brown and crunchy in your oven. (No messy frying!)
4. Skillet Parmesan Zucchini: Chop zucchini into coins and stir in a skillet with other favorite summer veggies until they’re crisp-tender. Add some spaghetti sauce from the jar plus mozzarella and Parm for a side dish that will vanish instantly. This one gives corn on the cob a run for its money.
5. Our Favorite Zucchini Bread: Ah, zucchini, what CAN’T you do? This bread is sweet, moist and (optional!) full o’ nuts. We added a secret ingredient (that you almost certainly already have in your fridge) that makes this quick bread moist, chewy, delicious.
6. Three-Cheese Stuffed Zucchini: Hello, Meatless Monday. We would like to introduce you to your new best friend: a seriously cheesy, seriously veggie main dish you can serve with rice. Use an apple corer to scoop out the centers of the cooked zucchini for a perfect “shell.”
7. Creamy Zucchini & Spinach Rigatoni: One of the many lovely qualities of zucchini is that it’s hearty enough to hold its own in a pasta bake. No meat necessary. This creamy, cheesy dish has chicken broth, but you can sub vegetable broth for a vegetarian-approved recipe.